From bridges and cell towers to kitchen appliances and mechanical fasteners, steel is one of the most versatile metals on the planet. However, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the topic of steel. To help clear up the confusion, we’ve compiled a list of the top six steel myths.
#1) Steel Is Its Own Metal
This isn’t entirely wrong. Steel is certainly a metal, but it’s actually made of iron, carbon and other trace compounds. Normally, about 2% of steel total weight consists of carbon. The use of carbon is essential for creating a stronger, more durable steel product.
#2) Stainless Steel Won’t Rust
Although it’s resistant to rust and corrosion, stainless steel isn’t immune to this phenomenon. When exposed to moisture, even stainless steel may rust. This typically occurs when the water-resistant outer layer of the metal is stripped away or otherwise compromised. Stainless steel contains an outer layer — usually chromium — that provides it with moisture-resistant properties. When water is unable to reach the actual steel metal, the metal remains protected from rust and corrosion.
#3) Steel Isn’t Recycable
This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. In North America alone, some 80 million tons of the metal are recycled, making it a good choice for the environment. And when steel is recycled, it retains 100% of its strength. This is in stark contrast to many other metals that, when recycled, become weaker and more prone to damage.
#4) Steel Is Made in Bloomeries
For hundreds of year, steel and other metals were made in large pot-like bloomeries. Around the 19th century, though, other, more effective techniques were developed. Metalworking companies can now produce steel using modern techniques like the Siemens-Martin process and Gilchrist-Thomas process.
#5) Not Many People Work in the Steel Industry
The steel industry continues to grow larger with each passing year. While the exact number remains unknown, some reports suggest that up to 2 million men and women work in the steel industry.
#6) Steel Isn’t Used for Homes or Buildings
Not all homes and buildings are constructed with a wood frame. Steel has become a popular alternative thanks to its unparalleled strength and durability. Construction companies can build homes and buildings using steel materials to protect against wind, hail, storm and other related damage. Steel buildings are even resistant to lightning strikes. When lighting strikes a steel roof, the roof safely guides the electricity to the ground, thereby minimizing damage and protecting inhabitants from injury.